This Blue Bird School Bus is a Cute Couple’s Cozy Home
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Name: Julie and Andrew Puckett, Starbuck the dog, and Mr. Butters the cat
Location: Stone Mountain, Georgia
Size: 200 square feet
Years lived in: 4 months; Owned
The American dream seems to change with each generation, and with the high cost of living these days and the longing to simplify, many young Americans are skipping the white picket fence and jumping straight into the tiny house movement. After their landlord raised the rent on Julie and Andrew’s apartment in Atlanta, they decided to dramatically downsize, pack their bags, and call a 1990 Blue Bird school bus home.
Tucked away in the lush pines of Georgia, about 30 minutes outside of Atlanta, Julie and Andrew have set up camp in a fully-refurbished Blue Bird school bus. I know what you’re thinking: That’s lovely and all, but that just doesn’t seem livable or practical. I thought so, too! But after stepping into their world, thoughts like I could have my morning coffee there.. and I’d love to sit and play guitar here, but where would I put my… Oh, they’ve made storage for that! began to open my eyes to small space living. The creative storage solutions and multi-functional elements in the home are what make it all work; everything serves a purpose. Tie that in with rich wood finishes, plants, and furry companions, and a school bus starts to feel more like, well, a home!
See before photos of the bus! → Before & After: How a Small School Bus Was Transformed into a Cute Home
Inspired by cottage homes of the East Coast and the novel Moby Dick, Julie and Andrew gave the House Bus (that’s what the “HB” on the front stands for) a dreamy, nautical feel, blending a sense of adventure and the comfort and stability of home sweet home. The bus also sits next to a lake where Andrew enjoys taking his kayak out in the mornings, and their dog Starbuck has plenty of room to run and explore. With their rich, natural surroundings, and the cozy and efficient environment they’ve created indoors, Julie and Andrew’s version of small space living doesn’t seem all that far-fetched. And, yes, the bus works! The Pucketts are free to sail across the country in this blue beauty.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Modern coastal cottage
Inspiration: I’ve always loved the clean, bright feeling of the East Coast beach cottages my family has vacationed in over the years. I tried to keep the color palette soft and light, with pops of dreamy color inserted here and there.
Favorite Element: Definitely our kitchen. My father is a talented carpenter, and surprised us with beautiful, custom beadboard cabinets. Every time I see them I’m reminded of the wonderful family we’re lucky to have.
Biggest Challenge: I’d have to say it was paring down our belongings to just the essentials and our most beloved items. We lived in an 1,000 square foot apartment before, so we had a lot of room to accumulate extraneous stuff. The hard work has been worth it, though. I no longer feel stifled by piles of clutter, and that’s made a tremendous impact on my creative process.
What Friends Say: We hear the word cozy a lot. I think initially it can be a lot to take in, especially since a lot of our friends own or rent homes. The idea of living in a small space is one thing, but actually seeing it up close puts that into a tangible context. We’ve also learned that not everyone fits comfortably in here. Thank goodness Andrew and I are on the short side!
Biggest Embarrassment: The driver’s area is sort of an eyesore. It’s weird to try to decorate too, because we can’t cover the indicators and knobs that we need visible for travel. I’d love to beef up on my bus wiring skills and then try to safely transform that area. For now, we just try to accessorize it with things we love so we don’t cringe every time we walk in.
Proudest DIY: Andrew and my father worked really hard to create our beadboard bed with lift-up storage. It’s beautiful, and functional (it even has hydraulic lifts built in!) and stores so much. There’s just no way we could get by without it.
Biggest Indulgence: The cabinet organization systems were expensive but they’ve made such a huge difference in the functionality of our kitchen. Money well spent!
Best Advice: “Have nothing in your house you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. ” That William Morris quote has helped us let go of things, as well as be truly intentional about the things we bring into our home.
Dream Sources: Lakewood Antiques Market, Kudzu Antiques, Paris on Ponce, Dot & Bo, Restoration Hardware
PAINT & COLORS
- Exterior: Valspar’s Rushing Stream
- Interior: Valspar’s Bright White, semi-gloss
- Teal galvanized trunk: HomeGoods
- Narwhal print: Brooke Weeber
- Chevron doormat: Bed Bath & Beyond
- Arrow twill fabric in Storm Grey: Premier Prints
- Roam Sweet Home banner: handmade by Julie Puckett
- Storage couch: made by Tom Gibbs (Julie’s father)
- Couch cushions and pillows made by Beth Gibbs (Julie’s mother)
- Teal drum lamp shade: IKEA
- Chevron and tribal print pillows: JinStyle
- Wood-burning stove: Federal Airtight
- Silver antler candlesticks: RR1 Chicago
- Fold-down table: made by Andrew Puckett and Tom Gibbs
- Side table/bench: Altra Owen
- Cabinets: custom-made
- Cabinet knobs: World Market
- Counters: IKEA
- The Pucketts woodcut: Kirsten Allen
- Floral, hand-hooked art piece: Beth Gibbs
- Drum shade pendant: IKEA
- Floral duvet: Magical Thinking
- Music is Medicine print: David Hale
- Storage bed: custom
- Manzanita menorah: West Elm
- Folly Beach Pier print: Kaelyn Ryan
- Glacier print: Julie Puckett
- Curtains: Keepsake Calico
- Storage cart: Target
- Mason jar lamp pendant: made by Julie Puckett
- Sliding fabric panel door covering: IKEA Rosenkalla
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